Businesses are being urged to more openly discuss the under-representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups in key company positions and could be losing billions as a result, according to new reports. Delivering Diversity, a study by published by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) with the British Academy of Management has raised concerned that companies aren’t providing transparency about the diversity of their management.
Around half of the country’s leading businesses have been found to actively champion diversity in business, while just one fifth of the FTSE 100 have published their current diversity data. 47% of the top businesses are expected to set race-related targets over the next year while the research showed that just 15% have a consistent and proven track record with BAME commitment.
With one in four of the country’s leading firms still not releasing data related to gender diversity, concerns have been raised that BAME support in major businesses could be a long way off. The CMI have announced the development of a race support network to tackle growing apprehension, and will be chaired by leader of the Delivering Diversity team and founder of diversity and talent advisory firm More Difference, Pavita Cooper.
“Even today, in modern multicultural Britain, many managers still feel deeply nervous talking about race and ethnic diversity at work,” said Pavita Cooper. “Every manager in the UK should be able to talk about difference with their teams in an inclusive way, and we need to see far more leadership from senior business leaders on this issue.”
The CMI want to abolish the perception that management needs to be white, middle class and male as they fear that companies that do promote BAME management tend not to talk enough about race or ethnicity. Not only does this affect workers morale, but companies run the risk of missing out on valuable talent without realising. £24 billion a year is calculated to be lost each year through companies either not supporting BAME groups or being perceived to give preferential treatment to white staff.
“Although C-suite executives talk a good game on the need for diversity, they fail to action it in management roles throughout their organisations,” said Professor Sir Cary Cooper, President of the British Academy of Management. “British business has made some strides in pushing the glass ceiling for women but has failed to do the same for BAME communities, despite an abundance of research showing that diverse management teams deliver higher shareholder value and enhanced performance.
“Now is the time for action, before legislative action will inevitably take place. Diversity is good for work and is good business.”